In this section
Resources / The Network / Water conservation / Water Conservation Tips

How to save water at your place

Our wai is precious - so it's important to understand how much you're using, and how to conserve it.

Want a better idea of how much you and your whanau are using at your place?

Click here to find out with our Water Calculator (best viewed on a computer).

Want to learn how to conserve water inside and outside your home? Check out our water-saving tips below.

Household water saving tips


Did you know water use in the bathroom makes up about 20 to 30% of household water use? Here are some easy ways to cut down. 


  • One minute in the shower can use up to 18 litres of water. Keep it quick in the shower (about as long as a song) and make every minute count, with an efficient shower head. Find them at your local hardware store. 
  • Brushing your teeth? Turn off the tap! A bathroom tap uses around 6 litres of water per minute. 



  • Stick to the half-flush and save the full flush for when you really, really need it.  
  • If your whānau or flatmates don’t mind, ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’. 
  • Ignoring that slow drip in the loo? It could be using up to 28 litres of wai per day – get it checked out by a plumber.  
  • Not sure if there’s a leak? Put a few drops of food colouring in the cistern. If the colouring appears in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak (you may need to wait an hour or two for the food colouring to leak into the bowl). 



A washing machine can use more than 120 litres of water per load! Cutting down your use is simple.
  • Only do full loads of laundry. 

  • Be an outfit repeater! Got an outfit with no visible stains? If it passes the sniff test, hang it up and wear it again later in the week.  

  • If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, front-loaders can use significantly less water. 



Dishwashers don’t use as much water as you might think, but leaving a high-pressure kitchen tap running can use up to 12 litres per minute.    
  • Skip the pre-rinse - scrape off food into the compost/bin instead.  

  • Handwashing your dishes? Fill your sink rather than washing under a running tap. 

Gardens and outdoors

Around 25% of household water use is done in the garden – reduce use and maximise results with these handy tips! 

Hand watering 

  • Add mulch (old leaves or grass clippings after mowing) to your garden. This helps stop wind and sun drying out the soil, cutting evaporation by up to 70% and puts nutrients back in the soil. 

  • The middle of the day is when the sun is hottest – and evaporation happens fast. Water in the early morning or evening, so your garden gets the maximum benefit.   

  • In dry weather, check your garden every 4-7 days. If your soil is moist 10cm below the surface, don’t worry about watering.

  • Water close to the ground at a rate the soil can absorb. Slow watering and not over-watering your garden is important.  

Sprinklers & irrigation:  

  • IN: Deep soakings once or twice a week. OUT: Frequent light water sprinklings. Deep soakings encourage feeder roots to grow and help your plants survive short term drought conditions. 

  • Use drippers or directional sprinkler heads. These make sure water is going where you want it, not wasted on your paths or fences.